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Snacks: Digestible Weekly Labour News – Issue 1329 July 2021

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"Law 23/07/2021 No. 106 has attributed collective agreements (including company level agreements) the possibility to indicate specific business needs to use fixed term contracts, bypassing the legal conditions which in fact prevented the renewal of fixed terms and its extension over 12 months."

Law Decree “Sostegni bis” converted into law
Law 23/07/2021 No. 106, which was published in the Gazetta Ufficiale (Official Journal), confirms the provisions of Law Decree 25/05/2021 No. 75 (Decreto Sostegni bis) and introduces (or confirms) specific new provisions, including:

  • Businesses that can access CIGO (primarily manufacturing and construction companies) and can no longer utilise the salary support measures provided by Legislative Decree No. 148/2015 are entitled to use 13 additional weeks under the special salary support fund (Cassa integrazione guadagni straordinaria) until 31st December 2021 in cases of suspension or reduction of work activity due to the Covid-19 emergency. It will not be possible to start individual and collective redundancies until the additional 13 weeks have been used;
  • Businesses in the textile industry, packaging of clothing, leather and fur goods and production of leather and similar goods are entitled to use 17 weeks of standard salary support until 31st October 2021 (starting from 1st July) in cases of suspension or reduction of work activity due to Covid-19. In these cases, no additional contribution is to be paid and it is also not possible to start individual and collective redundancies;
  • Fixed term contracts can be stipulated for a period exceeding 12 months within a maximum limit of 24 months, for specific needs provided for by collective labour agreements (including territorial and company level agreements). This provision, which passes the legal limits defined by the “Dignity Decree”, is in force until 30 September 2022;
  • Businesses that incur high level professional training expenses (up to a maximum of €30,000) can receive a 25% tax credit. Training, which cannot last less than six months, must be related to new technological development and knowledge included those outlined in the 4.0 national industry Plan (Big Data, cyber security, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotics, etc.); and
  • The use of “Cassa Covid” (i.e. standard salary support scheme) provided for by Article 19, paragraph 1, of Law Decree No. 18/2020 is not to be factored in when determining the maximum duration of salary support measures ordinarily provided for by Legislative Decree No. 148/2015.

Suspension from work and remuneration of non-vaccinated employees is lawful
An employer can legally suspend employees who decide not to be vaccinated (‘no vax’) against Covid-19 from work and remuneration. The employer has to guarantee the health and safety of their employees and third parties who are in their premises and are obliged to adopt any measure which, according to available guidelines, are needed to safeguard the physical well-being of those on their premises. The Covid-19 virus is among the external risks the employer has to prevent and the use of face masks alone is not an adequate protection against risk of infection. Refusal to be vaccinated does not mandate a disciplinary action but does mean an employee cannot wholly fulfil his tasks, therefore allowing the employer to suspend the ‘no vax’ employee from work and remuneration.
Court of Modena 23/07/2021 No. 2467

Green Pass approved
From 6th August 2021, a ‘Green Pass’ will be required to access restaurants and indoor bars (if seated), attend sporting and other events, access spas, swimming pools and gyms and to play indoor team sports, festivals and fairs, theme parks, congresses, competitions, arcades and casinos. Green Passes are issued to those who have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination dose, been swabbed 48 hours in advance or are six months recovered from contracting Covid-19. In case of breach a fine can be applied.
Currently, a Green Pass is not required in the transport sector, attending schools and for general working activities. Green Passes are also being introduced in several other European countries, each with slightly different rules.
Prime Minister Decree 22/07/2021

Health emergency status extended until end of year
The national health emergency declared due to the pandemic has been extended until 31st December. The parameters to monitor regional increases of risk threshold (which is identified through white, yellow, orange and red colour codes) have changed. Hospital admissions data is now being used to determine said thresholds instead of infection-rate data.
Prime Minister Decree 22/07/2021

Clauses in foreign employment contracts may result in anti-trade union behaviour
Italian trade unions are entitled to file claims for anti-trade union behaviour if a clause in an overseas employment contract prohibits employees from participating in suspending work activity to participate to trade unions protests against potential salary cuts or redundancies. Such clauses are also damaging to trade union rights, because the employees subject to these foreign employment contracts nevertheless work wholly or partly in Italy. Since trade unions act to protect collective interests but are not party to overseas employment contracts, Italian legal jurisdiction cannot be set aside.
Supreme Court 21/07/2021 No. 20819

DASPO to monitor use of salary support schemes
The INPS has officially adopted the ‘Daspo’ app to monitor the use of salary support schemes. In its first phase, Daspo will be used by the INPS to facilitate the collection and processing of any information on the use by businesses of Covid-19 salary support schemes.
INPS Message 21/07/2021 No. 2668

Ways to divide income of citizenship announced
The Ministry of Labour has announced the ways through which the ‘Citizenship Income’ (“reddito di cittadinanza”) – a national social welfare system – is to be divided between beneficiary family members. If the monthly check exceeds €200,00, each member is entitled to a per capita amount. The housing allowance and the economic support loans is paid to the holder of the rental home or loan agreement in question.
Ministry of Labour Decree published in the Official Journal on 20/07/2021

INPS and INL actions independent even if based on same claims
The conclusion of the procedure concerning the non-payment of social security contributions to the INPS does not affect the need to pay administrative fines to the INL for violation of the rules on employment, even if both are based on the same claim affirming employment. Therefore, the decision not to pay social security contributions therefore does not affect the process started against the INL’s injunction order. It is irrelevant that both procedures are based on the same assumptions – i.e. the subordinate nature of the employment relationships.
Supreme Court 16/07/2021 No. 20395

Bonus to be taxed if connected to health emergency
The bonus “una tantum” that bilateral entities (employers’ associations and trade unions) pay to their members classified as employees is deemed income derived from work. This conclusion applies if said amount is connected to health emergency, as the emergency provisions introduced during the pandemic provided for tax reductions only on contributions and indemnities paid to the self-employed rather than those in regular employment. Therefore, said bonus is subject to taxation if related to a health emergency.
Revenue Agency, Answer to question No. 492/2021